Yesterday, automakers in the U.S. reported the worst sales since 1983 and not even the ongoing troubles at Toyota seem to have been able to cushion the fall, the graphic below from this story at CNN/Money offering a reminder of how much the “Cash for Clunkers” program boosted sales last year.

Industry sales also fell 5% from July levels. August sales typically outpace July, as deals become available on older models ahead of the fall introduction of new model year cars. August sales would equate to an annual sales pace of about 11.5 million vehicles.

“Car buying is far from repaired, and consumers hesitate before they make a big ticket purchase,” said Jesse Toprak, an analyst with the auto pricing Web site “It shows that the recovery is going to be much slower and more painful than expected.”

They used to say, “what’s more important than how the 5 percent unemployed spend their money is how those 95 percent who still have jobs spend theirs”. It seems only the numbers have changed, that is, from 5 to 10 percent unemployed.

Of course, Mercedes is reportedly having a blockbuster year…